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Showing posts from June, 2011

USA Cycling Rulebook - How To Increase Road Categories

I thought this would be useful info for anyone starting from the beginning. This will tell you how to move up from Category 5 to Category 4 to Category 3, etc... "1D2. Road Upgrades (a) Guidelines and Notes by Category: 5-4: Experience in 10 mass start races.Local Associations may also establish policies where upgrade credit is given for taking a USA Cycling sanctioned rider education clinic.4-3: 20 points in any 12-month period; or experience in 25 qualifying races with a minimum of 10 top ten finishes with fields of 30 riders or more, or 20 pack finishes with fields over 50. 30 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade. USAC-sanctioned rider Camps and Clinics that are approved by the Local Associations for upgrading will count a maximum of 3 upgrade points when upgrading from category 4 to category 3.3-2: 25 points in any 12-month period40 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade2-1: 30 points in any 12-month period**50 points in 12 months is an automatic upgrade USA Cycl…

SMART Goal Setting

Setting goals gives training direction to increase the chances of success.  The SMART method of goal setting ensures that the goal is clearly defined and designed to make the goal-setter feel accountable.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timeline:

S = Specific:Goals must be explained within specific parameters.  Try to avoid vague descriptions like "I want to lose weight." Instead, describe how much weight you want to lose through a number or unit and most importantly, what methods you will use to reach your goal.  A specific goal will sound more like this- "I want to decrease my waist circumference by two inches in two months through aerobic/ strength training (1hr per session and 4-5 days perweek) and a healthy balanced diet through nutritional tracking with MyPyramid.gov."
M = Measurable: If progress can't be measured, it's nearly impossible to know how close you are to achieving the goal.  Take the guesswork out and sche…

Endomondo Review

Endomondo.com

Rather than spending a lot of money on a GPR compatable watch or cycling computer, I wanted to see what was available on the android market.  I tried many GPS apps only to find that most of them were not free.  When I found out that endomondo was free and had a lot of positive reviews on the android market, I figured that I should give it a try.  Endomondo measures time, distance, speed and calories (as long as you enter your weight).  It also automatically stops tracking anytime I needed to make a full stop.  My favorite feature was the audio feedback of average speed and split time every mile or kilometer- so you know if you're above or below your goal pace.  As far as power useage goes, the app is very efficient.  On a full battery, I was able to track a two hour 46 minute half century and still have 80% of battery to spare.  The only area that I think needed improvement involved the map display on the phone and the lack of a manual option to set the split distanc…

Vittoria Zaffiro Road Tire Review *Updated 05.22.12*

Vittoria tried to provide the best of both worlds with the Zaffiro by taking advantage of two tread compounds that give this tire a long lifespan and decent cornering grip. The sidewall features a softer compound that's supposed to provide "unparalleled" grip for cornering. The center tread is composed of a hard tire compound that's more resistant to wear and tear.  Based on my own experienceg conditions, this tire provides the best of only one world.



ABOUT THE TIRE LIFE:
The pictures in this post show what my tires looked like after a little over 3000 miles- not bad right?  I have put these tires through the abuse that winter and summer can throw at it.  They have been over hot asphalt, snow, salt, brick roads, broken asphalt/ potholes (back roads), fine gravel, broken glass and road kill (accidentally hit it when I glanced down at my cycling computer).


Throughout these miles, I never experienced a single flat caused by low tire pressures or punctures.  While the Zaff…

Pearl Izumi Elite RD II Road Shoe Review

Pearl Izumi Elite RD II Road Shoes vs. Louis Garneu Ergo Air Pro Road Shoes:
Compared to the first road shoe I bought, the Pearl Izumi Elite RD II Road Shoes were excellent.  Prior to the PI's, I purchased the Louis Garneu Ergo Air Pro Road Shoe, a "Performance Bike Exclusive" shoe.  The fit and ventilation was excellent, but the major design flaw involved the buckle. The spring housed inside the buckle snapped the release tab.  Although Performance Bike offered to repair the buckle for free, I decided to return this shoe because I knew the material used in the buckle was too weak and it would eventually lead me to replace the buckle again and again.  Out of all the barriers that could get between me and my training, a defected.shoe should not be one of them.
The good: After approximately 3,000 miles on these shoes with a few scrapes and impacts from criteriums/ fails, these shoes still looked great and have been extremely reliable from the start.  The buckle seemed to be c…

Forté Carbon Road Pedal Review ***Update*** RECALLED! Exchange ASAP

I forgot to update this post when I heard about the recall.  I received an e-mail from Performance Bike months ago and it said this:
From Performance Bike "We found that a small number of these pedals are defective. The main pedal body on the defective ones may break during use. Needless to say, this could cause a dangerous situation." Considering that I've had these pedals since June 2011 and put thousands of miles on them with no problems, I was almost 100% sure that my pedal wasn't one of the recalls.  I still decided to upgrade because they offered a full refund for the price of the pedal as well as an additional 10% off the replacement.  Since I noticed that the Look Keo 2 Max pedals were on sale for about $20 more and they were wider than the Forte Carbon Road Pedals, I went ahead and bought them!  First ride out, I was able to notice the difference between having the skinny Forte Carbon's and the wider Look Keo 2 Max pedals.  I've been nothing but happ…

How To Design a Strength Training Program

Effective strength training programs start with assessments. After a posture, range of motion, baseline strength/ endurance and dynamic movement assessment, a Needs Analysis must be completed!  The needs is composed of four simple questions that will give the strength training program direction:


1. What major muscle groups needs to be trained?
2. What type of training should be used?
3. What energy system should be stressed?
4. What are the primary sites of concern for injury prevention?
NEEDS ANALYSIS EXAMPLE: Applied to me, sport = cyclingCycling dominant muscle groups: Gluteus maximus, medius, quadriceps, hip fexors, hamstrings, ab-/adductors.Cycling specific training: Plyometrics, flexibility, power, upper body strength.Aerobic system (endurance)- 30-80% 1RM, 10-25 reps, 3+ reps, moderate speed of movement. 2x/week.Anaerobic system (strength, power)- ~1RM, 1-12 reps, 3+ sets, slow eccentric/ concentric, 1x/weekClavicle fractures are common cycling injuries. Strengthening muscles that s…

Periodization

Periodization is one of the most effective ways to prevent overtraining syndrome- the point where the athlete experiences physiological maladaptions and chronic decreases in performance. Prevent overtraining by planning workouts for an entire year worth by breaking it into macrocycles, mesocycles and microcycles or 12 weeks, 4 weeks and 7 days of training, respectively. Within each cycle, load is progressively increased to challenge the body and then decreased shortly to allow for recovery.
Expressed in percentages, a year long periodized program is broken down into four parts:
50% Preparation25% Precompetition15% Competition10% Active rest
Applying these percentages to each cycle... The numbers are intensity values on an RPE "Rate of Perceived Exertion) scale of 1-10.
Macrocycle (12 weeks): 5, 6, 8, 4, 6, 7, 9, 4, 7, 8, 10, 4 Three moderate intensity weeks (preparation)Three moderate to high intensity weeks (precompetition)Three high duration or volume OR race speed weeks (competit…

How To Calculate 1RM (rep max)

WHAT IS 1RM AND WHO NEEDS IT?
One rep max is measurement of muscular strength, not endurance.  Athletes who dominantly use the anaerobic system would get the most out of a one rep maximum strength test.

WORD OF CAUTION
If a spotter isn't present or the individual has a medical condition that could be aggravated by high intensity weight lifting, use the equation.

There are many things that can go wrong with a maximal lift and dropping the weight is one of those things.  Consult an experienced or competent fitness professional to spot the lift.  They are knowledgeable about the potential risks associated with specific exercises.  They might also identify problems with technique that could have led to a future overuse injury.  If you can't afford a personal trainer, don't risk the lift and get injured.  Injury is the biggest enemy of progression!

Individuals with hypertension should especially avoid trying to lift as much as they can for one repetition.  Because heavy weights cann…

CHO, Fat, Protein.. How Much Should Athletes Eat?

The guidelines below are dietary recommendations specific to athletes.  Elite endurance athletes who exercise at higher intensities will need to stay within the upper limit of the range due to muscle damage caused by repetitive/ rhythmic movements.  This will ensure that the muscles are refueled for the next workout.


Carbohydrate: The main focus should be on consuming more complex carbohydrates than simple sugars. Daily Intake: 6-10 g/kg/dayPrecompetition: 1-4 g/kg one to four hours before the eventDuring exercise (food): 25-30g carbs/ 30 min after one hourDuring exercise (drink): 6-8 oz. water or sports drink every 10-15 min OR based on thirst levels.After exercise (must be within 30 minutes!): ~1.2-1.5 g/kg/hr
Fat: Do not modify. Stay within 20-30% of total caloric intake. 10% should come from saturated fats- bulk should consist of poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids.
Protein: For athletes, the requirements are higher. Recommendations vary by discipline:
Strength Training: 1.6-1.7…

The Three Types of Fuel for Exercise

1. Carbohydrate (4 kcal/g): Carbohydrate is the main source of fuel for many of the metabolic process of the body. Before using it for fuel, the body converts carbohydrate into a monosaccharide called glucose which is released into the blood for the muscles to use. When resting, carbohydrates are converted to glycogen, the complex storage form of glucose. Glycogen is stored either in the liver or the muscle. Typically, the carbohydrates stored in liver and skeletal muscle is limited to about 2,500 to 2,600 kcal which is approximately the number of calories needed to complete 25 miles of running. (1)

It is becoming common knowledge that consuming carbohydrates during exercises lasting 1-4 hours can improve performance. Unfortunately, it is unclear why performance improves. Performance improvements occur due to the following possible mechanisms: Preservation of liver glycogenPromotion of glycogen synthesis during exerciseIncreased reliance on blood glucose for energy late in the exe…

Bicycle Race Line Practice

Today, I practiced the early, geometrical and late apex at race speed.
The early apex was very scary to perform fast because at times, I was often close to hitting the curb. It was useful for connecting turns though. It could also be a good way to recover while maintaining lead position. Not sure if that's a legal move, but it would work!
Out of the three, I was able to hit my top speed significantly faster with the late apex. The downside was that it was extremely tiring to perform the late apex. The tiring aspect of the late apex was accelerating to top speed after losing a lot of speed (braking) to prep for entry.
My favorite one was the geometrical apex. I was able to move throughout the turn without sacrificing too much speed; so it was less tiring. It was also easier to perform and gave me a better feel of whether or not the tires were getting close to its limit. It wasn't the fastest, but it was the most comfortable and least tiring line.

The Correct Lines for Cycling Criteriums

In autocross, picking the correct line is one of the most important and most difficult skills to learn.  In cycling, it's even more difficult because one extra variable comes into play- fatigue.  While cars have the luxury to go all out at the press of the gas pedal, cyclist must pick and choose when to push the pace and when to conserve energy.

THE THREE PARTS OF A TURN: ENTRY, APEX, EXIT
Before I go into the pros and cons of a specific line, I want to cover the three components of a turn- the entry, apex and exit.  The entry is where all of the braking and initial turn-in should occur. This is by far the most important component of a turn because the speed of the entry will determine both the location of the apex and the speed of the exit.  If you enter a turn too fast, there's the possibility of going off course (crash) and if you come into a turn too slow, you'll waste energy during the exit trying to get back up to pace.

The apex is the closest point to the inside of…

Optimal Tire Pressure For Cycling

THE QUICK & EASY METHOD:  TIRE PRESSURE CALCULATOR & CHART
If you don't want to weigh and calculate each tire pressure, check out the tire pressure calculator below.  It was created around Frank Berto's work that experimentally determined the tire pressure that produced the best grip.  Compared to the tire pressures I calculated, the calculator was 2-5 psi off from my calculated front and rear tire pressure.  That's a fairly small error considering that the longer method is still not exact- you still need to experiment with the pressures.  I recommend adjusting by 1 psi increments to fine tune your tire pressure.

http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-pressure-calculator.html

Michelin also made their own chart.  Notice how tire pressure depends on both weight and tire size.


THE LONGER METHOD:
After reading an article called "All About Tire Inflation" by Frank Berto, I stopped habitually inflating my front and rear tire to 120 psi.  Based on a discussion with o…

What is the optimal tire pressure for cycling? Part 1

In autocross, knowing the correct tire pressure based on the terrain of the course can shave hundredths of a second. General rule of thumb is that when tire pressures are too high, it will produce too much sliding and pressures that are too low will reduce responsiveness and grip (in corners). In daily driving conditions, high pressures will not absorb shock very well and produce a rough ride; whereas, low pressures produces a smoother ride, but increases the amount of tire making contact with the road which leads to excessive friction and poor fuel economy. The perfect tire pressure for automobile tires is one that utilizes 100% of the contact patch on the corners and the straightaways.

On to the bicycle- because bicycle tires are extremely narrow, lack contact patch indicators and don't have to worry about spinning from hard acceleration, it's difficult to determine what the best tire pressure is. I found two sources to help me figure this out.
At the Michelin's webs…